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« Imagination Knows No Bounds | Main

Celebrate Your Child's Creativity

When I was in the fourth grade our teacher, Miss Malkin, gave us an unusual assignment. She wrote a word on the chalkboard and gave us ten minutes to list as many words as we could think of using only the word's letters.

When the time was up, Miss Malkin asked the top student in our class how many words she had. Bonnie announced that she had 34 words. The teacher asked if anyone had more.

I was the only other student who raised a hand, and I reported that I had 116 words. As Miss Malkin approached my desk she declared loudly, "You must have done it incorrectly." But when she scrutinized my list, she saw that I had, indeed, done it correctly!

Miss Malkin was slack-jawed, and sat staring at me for the longest time. (I didn't think I had done anything special — to me, the assignment was a snap.) But Miss Malkin was clearly astonished, for I was a bright student, but rarely earned the highest grades in our class.

Miss Malkin didn't know anything about creativity. If she had, she would have known that creative thinking embodies the skills at work in a task such as this, and that high intelligence and high creativity operate independently. The most highly intelligent among us are not necessarily the most highly creative. The most highly creative are usually very intelligent, but not always top students. If you have a mind-wandering child with a B-minus in science he or she just might become the Thomas Edison of tomorrow!

If you are a teacher or a parent, be on the lookout to identify potential creative geniuses. Encourage your children by acknowledging their talents and conveying to them that their creativity is valuable.

[Excerpted from Creative Genius, by Marjorie Sarnat, to be published Summer, 2011]


Welcome to the Raising a Creative Genius blog. Here I will share with you what I've learned during the decades since Miss Malkin's class. I invite you to join me and my partner, Marty Safir, on a new trail of learning, discovery, amazement, and discussion about the creative process for children.

That skill I showed in Miss Malkin's activity has a name: fluency. It's one of the four components of creative thinking. Today we know that much can be built upon a skill such as that. Consider the genius of Thomas Edison. How many light bulbs did he try before coming up with one that worked? Had he been less fluent with ideas we might still be waiting in the dark.

Nobody can tell you precisely how to raise a creative genius. We do know that if you think creativity is a special gift that you either have or don't have, think again. All children have it. Creative thought can be taught, encouraged, strengthened, and grown. Our society values creative accomplishments highly, and yet it has neglected to address creative thinking skills in our schools.

We'll discuss what we can do at home and in the classroom, and overall what's needed in education today. Raising a Creative Genius is a place to share about boosting the creative power that occurs naturally within our children.

Elsewhere on our site, and coming soon, you'll see an abundance of resources including downloadable lesson plans, activities, exercises, and workbook pages. We love providing tools that spark imaginations, validate young dreamers, and get creative juices flowing. Our passion is growing the creative potential in all children, to help raise a new generation of innovative achievers and dreamers who make a difference.

Encourage your child's creativity and get ready to be amazed.

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